You'd think I'd know when I reread things, but at least Anna Dale's Whispering to Witches (2004) sounded vaguely familiar. Joe takes a train to Canterbury to visit his mother, and runs into a coven of witches and tries to help them retrieve a page from a witches' manual. From May 31, 2006--This hit me as a delightful cross between Rumer Godden's The Story of Holly and Ivy (that whole 'being sent from school on a train in England' thing) and the Ruth Chew books. Pretty cover, easy to understand, good character development. Moved along well, fantasy element plausible. And it just made me happy.
Kaiulani: The People's Princess by Ellen Emerson White is one of the Scholastic Royal Diaries, which tend to irritate me, since the princesses tend to go on and on about how they have to keep their diaries secret, and cover all manner of petty concerns. While realistic, this is irritating. Kaiulani didn't have as much of that, and I learned a lot about the royal family in Hawaii and how the United States did such damage to their native government (which was very sophisticated, although cursed with bad luck when it came to heirs to the throne) that we officially apologized in 1993-- 100 years too late for Kaiulani to become queen.
When I go to the library, I tend toward nonfiction, so I enjoyed Really useful : The Origins of Everyday Things by Joel Levy even though it is, unfortunately, out of print. It covers objects from kitchen implements to bathroom fixtures to everything in between. Thiswouldn't be a bad book for middle school, but it was lengthy and did have a page on condoms. This is the sort of book that is good to have to give to students who don't want to read nonfiction. Crammed with fun facts that I felt compelled to read aloud.